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Author Archive: Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD

About Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD

NCCMAID has been valuable. I have had the opportunity to meet both prescribing and consulting physicians from almost every state where it is available. I got a chance to catch up with leading Canadian clinicians like Stephanie Green and Ellen Wiebe. ...

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This is a practice video of a presentation ("Medical Aid in Dying: Six Variations in U.S. State Laws") that I am doing, this morning, for the National Clinicians Conference on Medical Aid in Dying (NCCMAID) at U.C. Berkeley.

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I have written about how the new Nevada advance directive form specifically permits individuals to direct the forgoing of food and water by mouth.  In contrast, West Virginia is taking the opposite approach. The current status of a VSED directive...

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Many years ago, I lived in Madrid during my junior year in high school. Therefore, it is a surprise (given the giant presence of the Catholic Church) to hear that the Spanish Parliament has voted 203 to 140 to advance a bill to allow euthanasia and ass...

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Late last month, Stuart Pickell write an op-ed in the Forth Worth Star-Telegram on the ongoing Tinslee Lewis case. Dr. Pickell is chairman of the Tarrant County Academy of Medicine Ethics Consortium and a member of Cook Children’s Medical Center’s ethics committee.

While defending the dispute resolution provisions in the Texas Advance Directives Act, Dr. Pickell actually concedes much of what the case is really about. 

First, Dr. Pickell explicitly acknowledges: "The Texas Advance Directives Act is imperfect." That is fine. Many other defenders of TADA concede as much. This is not a big or surprising concession. Many pieces of legislation are imperfect. The legal question is whether the statute is unconstitutional.

Second, Dr. Pickell writes: "the typical ethics committee consists of an interdisciplinary team of healthcare workers." Yes, but the statute provides no rules or constraints on the size or composition of the committee. While many committees may be inter-professional and diverse, many are not.

Third, Dr. Pickell writes: "The members are often employees of the institution but the panels also usually include community members who have no official relationship with the facility." Yes, the statute does not require community members. And Dr. Pickell acknowledges (using the word "usually") that some committees have none. Therefore, many committees are comprised entirely of insiders with a real or apparent conflict of interest.

Fourth, Dr. Pickell writes: "Texas’ law leverages the expertise of healthcare and ethics professionals." That may sometimes be true. But the statute does not require the involvement of either. The committee could be comprised entirely of utilization managers. 




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Late last month, Stuart Pickell write an op-ed in the Forth Worth Star-Telegram on the ongoing Tinslee Lewis case. Dr. Pickell is chairman of the Tarrant County Academy of Medicine Ethics Consortium and a member of Cook Children’s Medical Center’s ethics committee.

While defending the dispute resolution provisions in the Texas Advance Directives Act, Dr. Pickell actually concedes much of what the case is really about. 

First, Dr. Pickell explicitly acknowledges: "The Texas Advance Directives Act is imperfect." That is fine. Many other defenders of TADA concede as much. This is not a big or surprising concession. Many pieces of legislation are imperfect. The legal question is whether the statute is unconstitutional.

Second, Dr. Pickell writes: "the typical ethics committee consists of an interdisciplinary team of healthcare workers." Yes, but the statute provides no rules or constraints on the size or composition of the committee. While many committees may be inter-professional and diverse, many are not.

Third, Dr. Pickell writes: "The members are often employees of the institution but the panels also usually include community members who have no official relationship with the facility." Yes, the statute does not require community members. And Dr. Pickell acknowledges (using the word "usually") that some committees have none. Therefore, many committees are comprised entirely of insiders with a real or apparent conflict of interest.

Fourth, Dr. Pickell writes: "Texas’ law leverages the expertise of healthcare and ethics professionals." That may sometimes be true. But the statute does not require the involvement of either. The committee could be comprised entirely of utilization managers. 




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Last Tuesday, February 4, 2020, the Texas Second Court of Appeals held oral argument in the Tinslee Lewis case. A recording of the 49-minute argument is here. A key issue in the case is the existence of state action. Only with state action is constitu...

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Last Tuesday, February 4, 2020, the Texas Second Court of Appeals held oral argument in the Tinslee Lewis case. A recording of the 49-minute argument is here. A key issue in the case is the existence of state action. Only with state action is constitu...

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For decades, scores of courts have observed that "the truly ideal solution" for medical treatment disputes is for parties to "resolve their differences privately, on their own, with the aid of medical and clerical advice, and not have to resort to expe...

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For decades, scores of courts have observed that "the truly ideal solution" for medical treatment disputes is for parties to "resolve their differences privately, on their own, with the aid of medical and clerical advice, and not have to resort to expe...

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